The notable Greek philosopher, Plato heavily discussed philanthrôpía, which is a humanitarian effort to promote the welfare of others, and whilst overlapping with charity, charity is about donating finances to help a cause, philanthropy is about seeking the find a solution to the problem by examining the root causes. Greek poet, philosopher and playwright, Aeschylus coined the term 5th century BCE and it literally meant ‘love for humanity’. It’s about benevolence towards the whole of humanity without prejudice, which focuses on universal good will.
A person, group, business, company, enterprise or organization that are focused on using their income, money, resources and time to contribute to the cocreating of optimum health, human rights, right to life, civil rights, ethical, fair, just and moral shared prosperity for all, stability, unity government, solidarity, cohesion, animal rights, right to housing, right to free education, right to be a parent, right to free preschool education, right to a standard of living, creation of living wage, right to internet access, economic stability, financial stability, equal rights, equal opportunities, employment rights, childrens rights, sustainable development, sustainable development goals, united partnership, multi-party working, community empowerment systems, equal distribution of income, wealth, fairness and justness across society, the country, europe and the world and contribute to the cocreation of global and national peace agreements, peace treaties, the universes truth and a fair, just and transparent system of checks and balances.” – Source
There are many notable philanthropists, who have donated time, effort and financial support to causes that aim to benefit society. Some of the ones most well known in the public eyes are Bill Gates, George Soros, John D. Rockafeller, Howard Hughes, Alfred Nobel, and Elon Musk, and between them they’ve set up countless foundations to help various causes and pumped billions of dollars into various projects to help the needy. Without question, Warren Buffet has pledged more of his fortune in donations than anyone in history and he claims that by the time he reaches death, he will have given away his multi-billion dollar fortune to several key charities and foundations, including $37 billion pledge to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which they will receive upon his passing. His aim is to attempt to help solve educational problems, and world health and hunger problems.
Is philanthropy an ethical and moral stance, or can it be about political agenda, or a display of power? Obviously creating organisations to help people in need is in principal a good thing, but imagine a philanthropist donating a massive chunk of their fortune and then announcing that they will run in the next presidential election in the U.S.A. Many people would vote for them as they believe that they are all about the people, but what if the donations are about political gain and notoriety? If you’re worth $80 billion and you donate 10% of that, then you’ll surely help disadvantaged people, but you’ll not miss that money as you’ve still got $72 billion, yet people with see your actions as admirable. Spreading the wealth in the world we live in is more crucial than ever as the elite become richer and more powerful, whilst the majority of humanity suffer to get by on a daily basis, and we are in a crisis of inequality.
“In my view, philanthropy goes against the grain; therefore it generates a lot of hypocrisy and many paradoxes. Here are some examples: Philanthropy is supposed to be devoted to the benefit of others, but philanthropists are primarily concerned with their own benefit; philanthropy is supposed to help people, yet it often makes people dependent and turns them into objects of charity; applicants tell foundations what they want to hear, then proceed to do what the applicant wants to do.” – George Soros